The Post-Journal

McCusker Likely Tackle Choice In Pro Football's Draft Blueprint

PITTSBURGH-- For a number of years, high school football stars from the Western Pennsylvania are left home and then came back to the Pitt Stadium to play havoc on Panther teams. However, this season, the Blue and Gold has a tackle from Jamestown, New York who has performed brilliantly for Coach John Michelosen for three years.Big, easy going Jim McCusker, co-captain with center Charley Brueckman, has been a mainstay on the Pitt line for three seasons but this year he has been absolutely outstanding. In 1955 and 1956, he played both right and left tackle but this campaign he has just been used at the former. He leads the team in time played with 305 minutes. This is an average of 50 minutes a game and Jim played just 32 minutes against Nebraska. Against both Army and Notre Dame, he saw action for 56 minutes.

Unlike backs, tackles are hard to describe since they make no long runs or throw touchdown passes. It is evident in each game, that the strategy of opposing teams is to stay away from the right side of the Panther line and one of the big reasons is a 241-pound tackle by the name of Jim McCusker.

Probably one of the biggest plays Jim made all season was against Oklahoma. At the time the Sooners led just 7-0. Halfback Clendon Thomas of Oklahoma scored an apparent touchdown then he fumbled in the end zone. McCusker recovered the ball and saved an apparent touchdown.

Coach John Michelosen describes Jim as strong as a "bull". "He has tremendous power," Michelosen recently said. "He is definitely having his best year."

Jim, who is a cinch to be one of the first three tackles drafted by the pros, is often kidded about being from New York. "Actually," Jim said, "Pitt is one of the closest schools to my back door. Remember Jamestown is only 125 miles from Pittsburgh."

Although Michelosen likes Pennsylvania boys, he is not prejudiced if they are good as McCusker. But what coach would be!


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